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not up to commonwealth standards

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 01, 2006

Know anyone with the Italian surname of Esposito or Innocenti? Most of them are descended from an orphan taken care of by the Catholic Church. For centuries, Italian cities had hospitals where abandoned babies (espositi, innocenti) were taken in and cared for, and a number of them married and passed on to their own children a family name reflecting the foundling hospital in which they grew up. Nor was it always a grim existence; a good part of Vivaldi's music was composed to be performed by girls at the Catholic orphanage in Venice where, in the early 1700s, he was a music teacher. The circumstances of orphans raised under the auspices of the Church's charity varied considerably, no doubt, but her impulse to care for parentless children was such an obvious good that her liberty to do so was taken for granted.

Until now.

Maggie Gallagher writes that Massachusetts's decision to impose anti-Chrstian ideological restrictions on adoption services represents a first step toward putting the Church out of the Corporal Works of Mercy business:

The question in Boston is not whether gays are going to be allowed legally to adopt. It is whether religious people who morally object to gay adoption will be allowed to help children find homes. This is not about gay adoption—it is about our fundamental commitment to religious liberty in this country.

It is a crime to run an adoption agency in Massachusetts without a license from the state. To get a license you have to agree to place children with same-sex couples. For the first time in America, Christians are being told by their government that they are not good citizens, not worthy enough to be permitted to help abandoned babies find good homes.

The Catholic Church has been tending to orphans centuries before there was such a thing as a secular state. Yet now the secular state has determined, in its wisdom, that it is the Church that risks harming the orphan by refusing to submit to gay adoption. So when this latest social experiment crashes ten or twenty years from now, who's going to be there post-disaster to pick up the pieces -- the human beings collaterally damaged in the cause of political gain? The Harvard Committee on Gender Studies? The Rainbow Sash Movement? The Lambda Legal Defence crowd?

Think again.

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